“‹The Palace on Sunday expressed confidence the Supreme Court will uphold the third extension of martial law in Mindanao amid the opposition lawmakers’ objections to its imposition.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark as he insisted there was nothing new about the grounds raised by the opposition lawmakers to reject the full-year extension of martial in Mindanao. He hoped the Supreme court would side with the Executive department.
Panelo made his statement even as an opposition lawmaker insisted there was no factual basis for the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, citing the administration’s failure to justify it.
Speaking to ANC, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said there was no “actual rebellion” in the south, which was a requirement in the imposition of martial law based on the 1987 Constitution.
Lagman said while there had been reported bombings and other violence in Mindanao, these incidents were not connected and were “not indicative of rebellion.
“We can agree there are continuing acts of terrorism and lawless violence in Mindanao but this is not related. The President in his letter failed to rebate this terrorism to rebellion,” Lagman said.
But Panelo said “The grounds cited by the opposition in opposing the third extension of Martial Law are more or less similar to the grounds cited in the previous petition in opposing the second extension of martial law.
“We are confident that the continuing rebellion in Mindanao, as well as the demands of public safety, requires the continued existence of martial law in that area, and the Supreme Court will uphold its continued imposition.”
Liberal Party President and Senator Francis Pangilinan said Congress “surrendered” its power by granting Duterte’s request.
Opposition lawmakers led by Lagman asked the high court to invalidate the third extension of martial law, saying it was violative of the 1987 Constitution.
They said the safety of the people in Mindanao was not in peril as there was no rebellion in the region.
“President Duterte’s letter dated 06 December 2018 to the Congress initiating the third extension failed to demonstrate the sufficient factual basis for his request, and his allegations of lawless violence and terrorism were not connected to rebellion,” Lagman said in a statement.
“The accumulated 891 days is an enormous increase of 1,485 percent over the original period of 60 days, which defied the constitutional intent of limiting the duration of martial law and any extension thereof.”
He said the martial law declared in May 2017 could not be extended as it had already accomplished its purpose of ending the Marawi siege.
The other petitioners, who echoed Lagman’s concern were Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte and Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.
Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the armed forces to extend martial law in Mindanao, believing rebellion still existed.
In May 2017 the Duterte administration put the entire Mindanao under martial law in a bid to fend off the Islamic State-inspired terrorists.